the kitten goes home

There was fretting, handwringings, uncertainties. Possible futures stretched out in front of us and found us making the space for them as the day went on – will we foster this found kitten until the owner finds him? Will this be a duration of days? Weeks? What if no one claims him? Ever? Then would this be our new cat? How are we supposed to afford it? Can we find a way? What to do? What to do?

We hatched a plan to place him. Some friends got the hard sell, some the soft but only negatives echoed back: X is allergic, Y has too many cats, Z might one day possibly move in with boyfriend and he doesn’t like cats. Contingency plans collapsed, back-ups foundered.

M registered kitten on the Oreg Humane Society. I posted on craigslist. Meantime, that night we’d bring some flyers down to the school field where we found kitten and keep fingers crossed.

Margaret got home first. Woody, as we’d christened him, was glad to see her, bouncing and purring and eating and yes, bouncing. His enthusiasm hadn’t ebbed by the time I got there. He was impossibly cute and the multiple futures and their inherent choices lay in front of us like fingers of spreading rivers. Rather than drown in them, it was time to walk Maxwell. We headed back to the field where we found Woody and began to put up flyers. We stapled probably a dozen flyers throughout neighborhood as we walked Max. Visions of driving by months later, the weather-beaten flyer still tacked there flashed through me. Would this be that?

But, impossibly, we got the call moments after returning home: I think that’s my kitten.

The reunion is sweet, edged with relief from both parties. A brand new kitten. So brand new as to not yet have a collar. A sleepless night. Just as we’re standing there a neighbor power-walking passes us and chimes in “oh, you found him! Good. He was so worried” and then continues up the street, as if she was an extra, timed into the shot perfectly, the moon emerging overhead in the blue sky. We leave armed with unnecessary gifts – wine, Belgian ale – tokens of gratitude, and spend the rest of the night trying to determine if we did the right thing or not? Should we have just left him there in the field? Look at the strife and headache we created. What was the point of all that? But we would do it again if necessary.

Later, over glasses of wine at a wine bar on Stark, outside and looking up the street, the midnight blue-hued sky, the lights from a marquee, the fist-fight spilling out of a bar across the street, conversation of life, death, brain tumors, friends, ex-friends, and what (not) to do when you find a lost kitten. We are so happy to live in Portland and we are so happy to be alive.

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